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Gender, social capital and lifelong learning for people with learning difficulties

Riddell, Sheila and Wilson, Alastair and Baron, Stephen (2001) Gender, social capital and lifelong learning for people with learning difficulties. International Studies in Sociology Education, 11 (1). pp. 3-23. ISSN 0962-0214

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Abstract

Social capital is currently a very popular idea in social science. In this article, it is argued that the idea of social capital has tended to be developed in a somewhat unidimensional way which takes little account of wider social factors which structure people's lives. A gender critique of social capital ideas is developed and the extent to which social capital theory may be useful in understanding the ways in which lifelong learning is experienced by people with learning difficulties is ubsequently considered. It is argued that social capital thinking is useful in understanding the nature and effects of people's social networks, but that social capital will be limited in its usefulness until existing theories incorporate wider sociological understandings.